Students laugh during a Korean class at a Sejong Institute in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. / Courtesy of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Korea has expanded facilities for overseas Korean language education to respond to a growing demand. New King Sejong Institutes will open in 17 cities, the culture ministry said Wednesday.
The new locations include Iowa City and Honolulu in the United States; Changsha, Linyi, Hohhot in China; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Monterrey in Mexico; Waterloo, Canada and Ulan-Ude, Russia. Additional facilities are mostly located in Asia, as nine of the new institutes will be founded in Asia, six in America and two in Europe.
"These locations needed Korean language institutions with increased Korean business presence and ‘hallyu,' or Korean wave, boosting interest in learning Korean language and culture," the culture ministry said in a statement.
This brings the total number of the institutes, located within Korean culture centers or universities with Korea studies program, up to 130.
The institutes in Nagoya, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan will be run as part of a strategic cooperation between the King Sejong Institute Foundation and the Korea Tourism Organization.
In San Jose, Costa Rica, the Sejong Institute will be operated in cooperation with the Information Access Center of National Technical University, which was built by Korea's National Information Society Agency.
The King Sejong Institute is named after the fourth king of the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), who created Hangeul, or the Korean alphabet. Established during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the program has provide integrated service for Korean language education in over 100 countries.
For more information, visit www.sejonghakdang.org.